shout-terminator

With Terminator: Salvation out this weekend, and three previous films and a TV series sharing its mythology already in existence, it’s about time to ask the question: When have we had enough of the Terminator series? Fat Guys at the Movies co-host Kevin Carr and resident Devil’s Advocate Josh Radde amiably discuss.

Opening Argument (Kevin):

This weekend, two sequels are hitting the big houses. And if you consider the long string of turds that are spoof movies that we’ve been subject to for years as sequels of each other, even Dance Flick can fall in this category. While Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is only the first sequel in that franchise, Terminator: Salvation marks the fourth film, following a failed television series that just got canned.

Enough is enough. This franchise needs to be terminated!

I know they’re breaking some new ground with Terminator: Salvation, but moving it into 2018 and casting Batman as John Connor just doesn’t cut it. The series jumped the shark in the second film with the introduction of the T-1000. (don’t get me wrong… I have liked all three movies to a degree, and I will forgive Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines because they actually blew up the freakin’ world in that one.)

The Terminator series shows that Hollywood does whatever the hell it wants to do, regardless of whether it actually makes sense. In the first film, they can’t change the future. In the second film, they change the future. In the third film, the future resists being changed but still violates all the time travel rules set up from the first two films.

Then there’s that crap storm of a television series, which reduced Sarah Connor (arguably one of the coolest female sci-fi heroines to grace the screen since Ripley took on the Aliens) into a whiney, moping mess of a woman. This is the best they could come up with? And what was with Thomas Dekker as John Connor. I’ve seen bigger balls on a horny Chihuahua.

There were some decent concepts in the new film, but in the end, this has devolved into a flashy post-apocalyptic movie that still doesn’t hold a candle to The Road Warrior.

“But wait!” you say. “Wait! There is still some cool things that could be done!” I’ll give you that, but seeing how Hollywood has handed the series from a master filmmaker like James Cameron to pop action slumlord Jonathan Mostow to McG of all people. And we all know that McG is just a low-rent Michael Bay…without the scintillating dialogue we’ve grown to expect from Bay’s films. If they could convince someone like Christopher Nolan or Bryan Singer to do a series reboot in the future… maybe. But right now, with McG polluting the cineplexes with his crass excuse for science fiction, any further films will have his fingerprints (or those of someone worse, like Renny Harlin) all over it.

Send the cyborg back in time, but no more of this series in the future, please.

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Rebuttal (Josh):

Whoa, Kevin, back that ass up.

They jumped the shark with the T-1000? How can you say that? Robert Patrick’s villain showed us just how cool these Terminators can be. I would say the series “peaked” with the T-1000, and Terminator 2 in general, but I would never say anything from that movie “jumped the shark.” Nothing on film or TV has come close, so maybe based on that merit the series should’ve been kaput then, but since they didn’t: Who couldn’t use a little Terminator in their lives?

I don’t know. I’m not sold that this franchise is dead, and it’s clear based on Salvation that there are still a few things they can, and want to do. Time travel in any show or film is dangerous. It’s a lose-lose situation unless you do it cleverly like they do on “Lost.” But there’s no less holes in the Terminator time-travel theory than there is in the Back to the Future series. So, who cares? Sci-fi is sci-fi and action is action, you’re too good for that, Carr? This coming from the guy who said Star Trek was better than Star Wars two weeks ago, even though they too have a muddled concept of time travel.

Plus, there’s personality in this series. Salvation, regettably, was a bit too dry and serious, but there’s room to build. But look at the three movies: arguably Schwarzenegger’s most successfully humorous roles (unless you count Junior and Jingle All the Way, which, unfortunately, I do not). Those movies, even the third one, are incredibly re-watchable. From the “B” movie quality of the first installment, to the legitimate story and emotion of the second, to the flat-out fun and eye-popping action of the third. Even “SCC” has some personality. Summer Glau is fun to watch and I thought Garrett Dillahunt’s Cromartie was the reason to watch.

Bottom line? Robots posing as humans = always fun. And no no no. I don’t want Christopher Nolan on this project at all since it was HIS BROTHER that made this newest installment too serious for its own good. And you think Bryan Singer will give this series its balls back? Dude made Superman into a whiny bitch who sneaks into little boys’ bedrooms while they sleep. No thanks. Maybe now that Cameron and Worthington have worked together on Avatar we can see a Terminator installment with the two of them, going back to the fun storytelling basics that Cameron set up with the first two installments.

But pronouncing the Terminator series dead? Just the thought makes me want to attach an AK-47 to my arm and shoot you in the crotch.

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Closing Argument (Kevin):

Radde, you ignorant slut. Jingle All the Way is one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time. A giant department store Santa smack-down? Priceless! Pre-Anakin Jake Lloyd? Brilliant! Sinbad in green spandex? What more can an audience want?!

But I digress. On to the termination of the Terminator saga…

So, let me get this straight…In your defense of the constant time-travel rule breaking in the Terminator series, your best defense is….Back to the Future? I know we’re talking about whether the Terminator series should be terminated, but the termination of Back to the Future is a whole new story. Even God brought down his wrath on that overdone franchise a year or so ago when he sent hellfire to burn down the clock tower.

You say that the Terminator series has personality? I’ll give you that. But that doesn’t mean it’s good. Don King has personality, but I don’t want to see a movie about him. Ron Jeremy in a g-string has personality, but it’s not going to stop me hitting the fast-forward button on my remote. And Rosie O’Donnell’s un-douched camel-toe is probably loaded with personality, but that’s not going to stop it from making your eyes burn. Just because something has personality doesn’t mean it needs any more screen time.

I don’t want to beat a dead horse, which is to say the old television series. Read my Control Freaks column on that small-screen failure to taste my full venom. I’ll give you the fact that Summer Glau is hot. But dare I say that hot chicks aren’t going to save something that’s stumbling along like a donkey dying of heat stroke. I enjoyed seeing Linda Hamilton’s bazoombies in the first film, just as I enjoyed a naked (although annoyingly obstructed) Kristanna Loken in the third film.

But your point works against you. We didn’t even get to see Moon Bloodgood’s goods in this film. Only Bryce Dallas Howard swollen with child. Thanks McG and the MPAA for furthering the PG-13ification of American cinema. At least the direct-to-DVD movies of Steven Seagal still delivers a nice boob shot now and then.

I like a good man-versus-machine sci-fi extravaganza as much as the next fanboy, but thanks to “Battlestar Galactica” and its unprecedented brilliance of bringing the Cylons to life, the bar has been raised too high for Skynet to defend. I will concede that if James Cameron comes back to resurrect his own franchise, there might be life left in this dying heap of metal. But considering the guy only makes a movie once a decade, I don’t expect to see that happen any time soon.

I’m ready for you, Radde, and your AK-47. My crotch awaits your wrath.

Final Words (Josh):

AK-47s aimed at crotches? Camel-toes? Ron Jeremy? This discussion has taken a weird turn.

But you know what, it’s like what Jules said to Vincent in Pulp Fiction, “Personality goes a long way.” BSG was a terrific series (at least for two and a half seasons) but it’s completely different than The Terminator. I will agree that if the series keeps on the track that it’s on, I am willing to change my tune, but I still think there’s some salvation for this series. Let’s bring Worthington and Summer Glau together and they can form a Terminator tag team and become bounty hunters. And we’ll throw her tits in the mix too, just to please you, Kevin.


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